Affirm The Angry Black Woman

There is never a shortage of topics for me to write about each month—there are far too many. I have started any number of posts, but my thoughts scatter, uncooperative.

One issue became crystal clear to me today: the continued struggle of Black women in America. Talking with young adults last night, I heard once again how the next generation of Black women continue to fight for the same rights we fought for. These courageous young ladies have more social power and capital than most Black women my age, but the battle to be seen and afforded equality and agency rages on.

This morning, a story broke about a young Black woman, Alicia Franklin, who was raped a year ago. She followed all the protocols: After the crime, she immediately went to the hospital and underwent a rape examination. She took officers to where she was raped and gave them details about the assailant. Yet little was done on the part of law enforcement. A year later, a young white female, Eliza Fletcher, was kidnapped and killed. Investigators quickly tracked down the suspect, a man with a history of assaulting women. Turns out he was the same assailant who raped the young Black woman a year prior. Had law enforcement taken Alicia Franklin’s case seriously, the young white female may have been spared.

We Black women in America assume an offensive stance, elevate our voices, and aggressively speak the truth because we’ve been overlooked and unappreciated. We’re tired of being on guard against predators. We’re exhausted from caring for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Alicia Franklin’s story broke my heart yet again.

When will we be treated equitably? How much more pain must we endure?

Jesus’ anger caused him to turn over the tables and scatter the people from the temple steps (Mark 11:15–18). He was fed up with how the system disrespected God. I want to turn tables and scatter people, too. I am tired of suppressing my emotions, knowing others may discount my argument by labeling me an “angry Black woman.”

The truth is blatant yet ignored. Our systems are broken, but we continue to work within them. Our church concedes to injustice, yet we wonder why the next generation turns their back on religion.

The chief priests and teachers wanted to kill Jesus because he brought light to their evil ways. Today, many in power want to make Black women disappear because our light illuminates their wickedness. “Angry Black women” are dangerous; we expose the truth.

So, let’s ask others to stop using the term “angry Black woman.” But when it is used, let’s claim it, acknowledging that Black women have had it with disrespect and oppression. Let’s say, Yes, I am angry! I am fed up! I matter!

2 thoughts on “Affirm The Angry Black Woman

  1. Anne Byler on said:

    Of course, darker skinned people in the US have every reason to be angry–and women even more so! And white people who are breathing and know Jesus had better be angry too! George Floyd gets killed and people are up in arms, but what comes of it? Not major changes in the role of police in “public safety.” In 2014, Eric Garner was killed by police “on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes” (!) and had said “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he died. There was Rodney King. And Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor…too many to mention. And then all those whose deaths were NOT videotaped….

    There is a good resource to get Mennonites thinking about the history and role of police (again): “Defund the Police?”: An Abolition Curriculum from MC USA.

    There are way too many reasons for black women to be angry. Black women die at twice the rate of white women in childbirth! Their pay in jobs equal to those of white men is far less. Over 50 years ago, Fannie Lou Hamer, a black activist, speaker, and politician said she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It is really on white people, with the power benefits of privilege, to convince other white people to put “liberty and justice for all” into action in this country. Sadly, even many of us aware of the 400 years of completely inhumane and unfair treatment of blacks, have a hard time figuring out where to start and what to do.

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